Beliefnet
Fresh Living

asparagus.jpgAsparagus: it’s a sure harbinger of spring, a green, nutritious purveyor of vitamins A, C, and K, plus folate, iron, and fiber.  Steamed, roasted, or grilled, skinny or thick-stemmed–its subtle, distinctive flavor is truly delicious.

Until you have to go wee-wee, that is, at which point you are confronted with a harmless genetic abnormality that affects around half of us human beings.

On this Foodie Friday, as asparagus is just blossoming into its peak season, I want to offer an explanation for the “smelly pee” phenomenon that many of you recognize well.  The studies I came across mostly agree that the culprit is a compound found in asparagus called methyl mercaptan that is only released when subject to human digestive enzymes.

Ready for an asparagus fun fact?  Methyl mercaptan is the same compound that gives skunk spray its distinctive, um, odor.  So when your urine smells like rotten eggs, think fondly of Pepe Le Pew and don’t worry–if anything, the odor shows that your kidneys and digestive system are in proper working order! 

(image via: http://www.worldcommunitycookbook.org/season/guide/asparagus.html)

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